Pride permeates through every aspect of the competitor’s life. Pride in every effort and every endeavor the competitor undertakes, no matter how small it may seem at the time. Pride is doing the best that you can do to become the best that you can become. Imagine placing a sign on the front of your jersey that says the Heart of a Competitor is behind this jersey. That is what you are doing everyday. (Watch this Nick Saban Press Conference and you will understand the Jersey reference.)
“There are two kinds of pride, both good and bad. ‘Good pride’ represents dignity and self-respect. ‘Bad pride’ is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance.”
– John Maxwell, Writer and Leadership Consultant
To accomplish a goal and to demonstrate excellence in any field a competitor must have pride in their work and pride in their heart. For a competitor, pride can take on many forms, but best-selling author and speaker, John Maxwell, mentions the most important part of pride above there must be dignity and self-respect. The Heart of the Competitor has the dignity and self-respect inwardly that forces them to pay attention to every small and seemingly inconsequential detail. Pride is the reason the baseball team hustles on and off the field. Pride is the reason the football team hands the ball back to the official, so preparation for the next play can occur. Pride is the reason the team walks together in lines of two coming off the bus to the field.
On the other side of the pride coin is the bad pride that seemingly seeps into some competitor’s lives. This is the “bad pride” that is evident when certain competitors walk like they have never done anything wrong. It is not the confident or successful strut, it is the “arrogant” and “I am too good for that” attitude that radiates from their body. The arrogant individual that never helps pick-up equipment or the individual that jogs to the next station. This has no part in the Heart of the Competitor, for the Heart of the Competitor is always asking what else they can do to help themselves and help the team.
Coaches and players that have experienced success at a young age must fight the “bad pride.” Those that experience success in the form of wins and losses at a young age have a tendency to develop the “show up and win” attitude that reeks of conceit and arrogance. The players that have to work at the craft develop the Heart of the Competitor because they have always had to fight and prove their will can defeat an opponent’s skill.
How have you evidenced “good pride”? How will you evidence “good pride”? (What have you done to show self-respect and dignity toward your craft?)
“An invincible determination can accomplish almost anything and in this lies the great distinction between great men and little men.”
– Thomas Fuller, Author and Historian
Determination is not based on one action or one situation. Determination does not occur for an instant and fade into the background. Determination extends over a long period of time and pushes the competitor to accomplish great things. These great accomplishments are works of art that take focus and attention to create. According to legend, it took Leonardo Da Vinci four years to create and complete the Mona Lisa.
Determination is the commitment to the process over a long period of time. Da Vinci was determined to create a masterpiece and he did. He created a masterpiece that has been around for over 500 years. This invincible determination allowed Da Vinci to be an exceptional artist.
The Heart of the Competitor maintains their determination over a long period of time. They expect there to be bumps in the road that will require persistence and action. Any fear that is experienced is a bump in the road; any failure that is experienced is a turn on the road that is the journey. The true Heart of the Competitor keeps the gas pedal pushed down and consistently keeps the car moving forward. This is determination.
Today, choose to be determined that one action, one situation will not define you as a competitor, realizing that it is a daily occurrence over a long period of time, that demonstrates the invincible determination that allows great things to occur and be accomplished.
Question of the Day:
What are you doing on a daily basis that will allow you to accomplish something great four or more years from now?
“Success isn’t the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.”
– Arnold H. Glasow
Goals that are written down are worth nothing more than the paper they are inscribed upon. They are like many corporate or organizational mission statements, window dressing.
Having the Heart of the Competitor allows for the goals to become passions that ignite accomplishment and achievement. The focus on the process and incremental daily progress toward goals must be the mindset of the competitor. The danger in goals is that they are set and forgotten about, with no action taken toward them. Goals will not be achieved without action; achievement is preceded by action.
Action must be taken on a daily basis to move forward. Search each day for an opportunity to move forward. This movement can be incrementally small or exponentially large, it does not matter. Ironically, an incrementally small step forward repeated over a long period of time allows for exponential growth to occur.
“Between the great things we cannot do and the small things we will not do, the danger is that we shall do nothing.”
– Adolphe Monod
Each day provides a danger that we will do nothing because we fear that we will not be successful or the actions that can be taken are too small. Choose to take action, to do the small things that will allow you to achieve and develop the Heart of the Competitor.
Question of the Day:
What action have you taken today to advance toward your goals?
Barnacle geese need to nest their eggs high up on a cliff, so they are protected from predators, specifically the Arctic Fox. Shortly after birth, hatching form the comfort of the eggshell, these newly hatched goslings are called upon to take a nearly 4oo foot plunge.
Their parents, specifically the mother, urge these newborn goslings on to take the “Leap of Faith.”
These young goslings inherit a trait to follow their mother anywhere, but they are still reluctant to jump of this cliff. The filmmakers noted the goslings may take 30 minutes to half a day to muster up the courage to take their Leap of Faith.
What can we learn from the Barnacle Geese?
Encourage our offspring to take the Leap of Faith.
As a parent of two young boys, we are always concerned about their safety and this is warranted, however, they need to be pushed to take the Leap of Faith and jump at opportunity when it arises. The Leap of Faith is where the great experiences occur in our lives.
When you take the Leap of Faith, how you land decides your fate.
The Barnacle gosling is unable to fly, but they can glide. This gliding allows them to land on their bellies and absorb the impact. The courage to take a Leap of Faith allows new experiences, new learning for all of us. When taking the Leap of Faith, like the Barnacle gosling, we will fall, but is how we land that will decide our fate.
Staying put allows your predators will gobble you up.
Arctic foxes will eat the Barnacle goslings that do not take a Leap of Faith. Waiting around to do something allows others to get ahead, to surpass you. Someday is not a deadline for accomplishing or doing something, someday is not a date on the calendar.
“There is nothing either good or bad except that thinking makes it so.”
– Dr. David Schwartz in his book, The Magic of Thinking Big
Understanding that life is a process is a huge step in the development of the Heart of the Competitor. A competitor is accustomed to keeping score. Keeping score begins early in life. Parents compare their children in their timing of reaching developmental milestones, like walking, talking, potty-training, and the list can go on. Since true competition is with yourself, the Heart of the Competitor understands true development is consistent improvement. Instead of comparing milestones, to see if something is wrong, even the parent with the Heart of a Competitor enjoys the process that is getting their child to be potty-trained, to walk, to talk, and reach the other important developmental milestones in its’ life.
The viewpoint of daily development is a battle that must be fought against the world’s view of competition. The world views competition as a defined outcome or result, for if we have a defined outcome or result, either you met the outcome or result and you are a WINNER, or you are a loser because you failed to achieve the desired outcome or result.
Review Dr. Schwartz’s quote above. There is no good or bad, just the thought process and thinking that makes an experience good or bad. The world has trained people to think they need to view something as good or bad. The Heart of the Competitor refuses to be drawn into this limited view and understands that nothing is good or bad, it just is. This view allows the Competitor to accept their current state, observe what has occurred, and focus on the process of improvement.
Question of the Day:
What can you do to remind yourself the process of developing and improving is the ultimate goal and that an event in your life just “is”?